Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD Review

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Conin

After reading lots of reviews, I decided to buy two of these puppies, but after some hours of installing, tweaking and configuring, there's no way to make them support 7.1 channels, even when I was told by Creative Labs themselves that it actually supports 7.1 channels via the TOSLink output.

I think I'm going bak to my old X-Fi Fatal1ty Champion Series soundcard.

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DirkBelig

Based on this review and others, I plunked down the cash for a worthless hunk of garbage that makes me want to take any future recommendations by MaxPC (which I've read since it was boot!) with enough sodium chloride to stop that Star Trek salt monster's heart.

I've wasted over four hours, installing, reinstalling, rinsing and repeating the installation and trying to get sound to work at all in games (only stereo works, if that) and surround in regular use. I've had just about every Creative card over the years - Live, Audigy, Audigy 2, X-Fi Fata1ity - and this has been the least functional, worst behaved POS ever! If I hadn't SLIed GTX 460s and thus needed to pull my perfectly fine X-Fi Fata1ity out of my rig, I would never have been in the market for a PCI-e card and no thanks to MaxPC, I'm now the owner of worthless joke and a lost evening. [mad face]

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joeking

Here's what I don't understand.

This soundcard only has 2-channel analog output.  Yet in the review, it states Logitech Z-5500 were used, which are 5.1 speakers.  So how did you connect them to the soundcard, through digital output?  I certainly hope not, since outputing in digital completely bypasses the internal DAC and other circuitry of the soundcard, which would be a huge waste.  Why pay that much for a souncard when you could get the same quality outputing digitally from motherboard audio?

Also, this would explain why the TitaniumHD and Essence STX sounded "the same", obviously if your outputting digitally to the speakers, it's using the speakers DAC, so it would sound exactly the same.

Someone please clear this up for me before I lose all hope in MaxPC reviews.

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bo3bber

The bottom two connectors are dual mode connectors that allow for RCA plugs, OR a long-nose optical connection.  The very bottom one is dual mode for digital out. Creative includes the optical cable necessary for this connection. (2nd from bottom is optical in)

This optical mode includes your choice of DTS or Dolby Digital Live. 

It does seem you are right when you say that going optical to the Z-5500 would bypass the high end circuitry for output. I think the audio review was mostly talking about headphone listening.

For Z-5500 listening, you theoretically get the advantage of Creative EAX 5 for current games.

In my experiments with this card, the audio was substantially better over the optical connection, than the onboard RealTek audio to the same Z-5500.  This might be as simple as the Creative equalizer though.

I can't say my experience has been as stunning as everyone else here, including the reviewer. It's good, don't get me wrong.  Just not stunning.  (and I still don't trust Creative)

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cantonman

Out of curiosity I went to Creative's site to compare the specs of this latest card with their older hardware. They were identical (in all the important specs) back to the Audigy card. Is it simply the newer, and thus incompatible with old hardware, driver software that's making the difference? Am I misreading the specs or am I missing something? Do it for yourself, the wording is almost exact.

Are we really paying for better software rather than improved hardware?

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Sovereign

I too have an XtremeMusic.  Though I also have a set of Z5500s, and the mention of said speakers in this article is sorely tempting me to put this on my birthday list...  The XtremeMusic has served me well.  The only annoyance is that it's a PCI card, which doesn't get along with 3ds max (snap, crackle, pop!).

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ProtoJMB

I have the Xtreme Music card, and don't plan on upgrading at all. My card at least will do Dolby DECODING. Creative got it right the first time, and from then on it went down hill.

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nbrowser

I just picked up this card's big brother the Titanium Fatal1ty Champion for my gaming rig, finally dispensing with the onboard, all I can say is Creative is finally back at it. Now I gota replace my craptacular olden Logitech Z-540 5.1 system....however thru my Sennheiser HD477 headphones, pure audio quality !

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TheCrimsonKing

You got a problem with The Polyphonic Spree? What redneck school of technology did you attend?

 

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Ghok

I just bought one of these last week to replace my old Creative Audigy that I've had for almost 10 years. Way too high end for what I use it for, but it actually wasn't much more expensive than other cards I found for sale at the time, except for a few really basic cards I wasn't into. No complaints.

Woo! Flaming Lips!

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Baer

One thing I never have to upgrade are my large, high value and excellent speakers. There is no way I am dumping them to go to a new Creative card. I will stay with my Xonar.

I do agree however that integrated audio is really lacking in quality.

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rawrnomnom

as appealing as you guys make this card sound, i have to stick with my tried and true xfi Xtreme music till i get some speakers that can take advantage of it... However i can attest to the huge difference between a discreet card and an intergrated controller...

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CaptainFabulous

OK, I'm a bit confused. How can you get 5.1 out of games without individual speaker connectors? Or are you supposed sacrifice framerates and pay extra for Dolby Digital Live? Seems like a massive dealbreaker to me.

AFAIK you can't get multichannel sound via digital or optical out unless it's Dolby encoded on-the-fly. If I'm wrong someone please correct me.

Also, I wonder how it compares to older X-Fi hardware.

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bo3bber

It is Dolby Digital encoded on the fly, but by the soundcard, not by the CPU.  You don't pay a framerate hit for 5.1 out of this card using the optical connector.

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Conin

I recently installed one of these in my "daily" and my "gaming" rigs and am still surprised with the sound's quality when connected to an Onkyo HT-S9300THX.

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